History of Glasgow

Mother Earth Travel > United Kingdom > Glasgow > History

It may have been St Mungo who was responsible for the establishment of Glasgow; the city having grown up in the late 6th century around his Christian settlement. In fact, it is thought that Glasgow Cathedral was built on the sight upon which this settlement's church originally stood.

In 1451 Glasgow University was founded - its the fourth oldest in the United Kingdom.

It was as a port town that the city's trade began to flourish. In the 17th century it imported tobacco, sugar, cotton and various other things from the Americas. Many of these imports were promptly re-exported to France, Germany, Italy, Holland and Norway. With the development of a super-charged steam engine by James Watt in the 18th century Glasgow turned its attentions to the textile industry & started to build cotton mills.

Daniel Defoe in 1724 described Glasgow as, '...the cleanest, the most beautiful, the best built city in Britain, London excepted.'

Glasgow then went on to shipbuilding, and by 1835 it was responsible for half the tonnage of steam ships produced in Britain. It's from this economically powerful period that much of the city's architecture springs.

Railway lines to Garnkirk (1831), Edinburgh (1842) and the Caledonian Railway (1845) boosted both Glasgow's productivity & population further. By the mid 19th century the population of Glasgow had reached 420,000. As with most cities experiencing such a boom in their working-class population, housing was built cheaply & inadequately resulting in a proliferation of slums.

Glasgow is now Scotland's largest city. The fact that it was Europe's City of Culture in 1990, and UK City of Architecture in 1999 shows that it is enjoying a resurgence of cultural identity - something reflected in the city's vibrant feel.